More spending on homelessness than ever, an in-depth look at Austin’s proposed plan

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – The city has proposed plans to spend $62.7 million on homeless services as part of its 2019-2020 budget. This is the most the city has ever spent and is about 1% of the total budget proposal.  

According to the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, or ECHO, the city has 2,255 people living without permanent housing in Austin. 1,169 of those people are living in shelters.

If you just look at the totals, it would appear the city is planning to spend $37,000 per homeless person. However, most of this budget isn’t going to individuals but instead to programs aimed at keeping people off the street.

Here’s a breakdown of the proposal categories:

  • $20.4 million for Housing Displacement Prevention
  • $18.4 million for Re-Empowerment
  • $23.9 million for Crisis Management

Housing displacement prevention is money for homeowner and renter’s assistance programs. Re-Empowerment is about ensuring people who no longer stay on the streets, stay that way. The final category, crisis management, is where money meant for shelters is located.

In this category, $16.3 million is dedicated to either the operation or construction of homeless shelters. If the same number of people are still living in shelters next year, the city will spend $13,943 on each of these people a year. This comes down to about $38 a day. As for what’s left over in this section, it goes to outreach and to keeping the city clean.

Keep in mind, this is just a proposal and is subject to change.

You can read the full budget proposal here.

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